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'Le Duel et Jewel'

Violent slashes splinter through shoulder angles and snake down spines. Crystal
adorned scores expose a raw, naked, yet jewel encrusted soul.

Inspired by the aggressive beauty and elegance of fencing and swordsmanship, each
garment bears the wounds of a blade. Fanning out into geometric sculptures, a
streaming continuity of cuts circuit through every piece, with lines highlighting the
protection points of our vulnerable bodies.

Making an entrance

Louis-Christian's early entrance into fashion was less of an entrance than an arrival.
When this tall, athletic, striking blonde flung the swinging doors of the fashion world
open, talent was here, and everyone knew it.

His first taste in the business was at 15, at Mulberry, where he was introduced to the
inner workings of a busy fashion house. This early placement, working alongside
ready-to-wear and accessories designers, was the key to understanding what truly
lie before him in his own creative ambitions.

Here was where he fit in. Not at school, just interpreting the work of others; over-
analyzing and over-critiquing thoughts and theories; making sense and nonsense of
methods and formulas and admiring the works of artists and writers. No, Louis-
Christian wanted to make something of his own. Something beautiful. Something
tangible. Something you could wear.

Life in miniature

After all, Louis had been designing and adorning clothes for years. What did it matter
that these beaded, couture pieces were in miniature, each pattern cut and toiled to
fit his sister’s Barbies? Escapism is escapism, whichever form it takes; however old
you are. Louis’ escapism was to arm himself with scissors, needle and thread and
lock himself away in the Wendy House at his parents’ home in leafy Reigate, Surrey.

While other boys kicked balls, and each other, around the garden at his one,
placatory football party, Louis was sketching and cursing at the holes in his tiny
fingers: bleeding pinpricks from misplaced needles.

Emulating and then reworking the fabulous malevolence of Cruella de Ville and
mixing it with strong, androgynous undertones borrowed from his fashion icon, Annie
Lennox, Louis’ work was striking from the outset. ‘Eccentric’ didn’t quite do young
Louis justice.

Perhaps it comes as little surprise that Louis' family is no stranger to apparel and
adornment, design and creativity; his maternal great Aunts were Chief Designers and
pattern cutters to the late, great Edward Molyneux; Louis’ mother was an 80s
Fashion Editor on Love Affair and stylist to the models of Menswear International,
sister title of today’s Drapers (Drapers Record).
Re-mould, Re-design, Re-style

Strength, endurance, power and dominance are evidently key themes throughout
Louis’ work. The aforementioned Annie Lennox is Louis’ muse, and her shock of red
hair from the days of ‘Walking on Broken Glass’ features in several of his
illustrations. But Grace Jones also brings inspiration. The sartorial elegance and
potent, unspoken authority of these two artists is what speaks to Louis as he goes
about designing each piece.

Lending from menswear, Louis’ design approach is to give women garments that
elicit strength, elegance and femininity, juxtaposed with the confidence and power
traditionally exuded by men.

Re-styling, re-moulding and re-designing men’s wear silhouettes for the third wave,
post-feminism era, Louis strives to give women elegant, yet sexy attire.

Although women’s wear was Louis’ first passion, he doesn’t limit himself to one
gender: Louis makes pieces for himself; male versions of his catwalk creations.
Never one to shy away from attention, Louis suits himself, whatever he wears.
According to Louis, that’s the beauty of being taught proper pattern-cutting skills: he
finds himself “whipping up” the most part of his wardrobe. ‘Whipping up’ seems to be
exactly the right phraseology, for Louis’ speed for cutting and shaping is only
matched by the speed of his hands and the words that ricochet from his mouth as he
describes his next ‘concept’. The energy of the man is palpable.

The Fashion Grindstone

For all the initial ambition and passion, working in the fashion industry isn’t easy.
Louis doesn’t want young design students to be under any illusions: it’s tough and
it’s competitive. Confidence and humility must go hand-in-hand with design skills,
innovation and focus. Putting the time and effort in is exhausting, so lie-ins, for
those who are most determined, will become the stuff of dreams: snatched dreams,
head down on muslin, covered in pins and needles and surrounded by clouds of
powdery tailor’s chalk. Design isn’t just about concept: it’s a job. A career. A

Louis is straightforward in his opinions, never circling an issue. But what of his
incisive views on how the recession affects fashion? “The future of fashion lies with
the cut of clothes rather than flamboyantly expensive, elaborate fabrics and
unnecessary add-ons. A pure, clean, sharp cut can change everything. Skilful cutting
amounts to phenomenal style.”

Upwards and onwards

At Hemyca, where he has worked since 2008, Louis feels that he’s in a place to
develop and collaborate with designers who share a vision. Hemyca’s Helen Clinch
and Myra Nigris seem to be on a similar wavelength, and Louis adores their
collections; subtle masculinity contrasting, paradoxically, with sublimely elegant
femininity. “Their collections are made with tailoring fabrics used alongside silks,
organza, lace and exquisite leather, making their work both interesting and
incredibly contemporary.”

So, as those swinging doors slowly come to rest on this introductory period of Louis’
life in fashion, what will the next doorway open on to?

Now a Fashion Design graduate from the UK’s Epsom division of UCA, Louis is split
on the right direction to take. Working within women’s wear is a natural progression,
as his ambitions are to have his own women’s wear label. However, costume design
also holds a strong pull, especially costume design for period dramas.

With talent, skills, motivation and drive like this, Louis is sure to be successful,
whichever avenue he takes.